NSTI BioNano 2010

Construction and properties of zein-based cell supports and scaffolds

G.W. Padua, Q. Wang, Y. Wang
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, US

Keywords: zein, microstructure, fibers, porous, controlled-release


Zein, a protein abundant in corn, is capable of self-assembly and may form a variety of structural morphologies (Wang et al 2004, Wang et al 2008a). Zein micro-fibers (Figure 1.), films, and sponges (Figure 2) were prepared from colloidal suspension. They had good tensile strength and elastic properties and biocompatible surfaces (Wang et al., 2008b). Interestingly, zein surfaces were able to induce cell adhesion at specific locations thus allowing for spatial control of cell growth. Tu et al. (2009) reported that complexes of zein scaffolds and rabbit MSCs could undergo ectopic bone formation in the thigh muscle pouches of nude mice. Zein may also form hollow microspheres (Figures 3 and 4) which could be useful as encapsulation materials for controlled release of growth factors or drugs. Zein constructs of enhanced capabilities may lead to effective tissue engineering leading to cartilage replacement and the treatment of bone injuries.
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